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17 May 2016
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



IOC President Thomas Bach visited the headquarters of the soon-to-be-launched Olympic Channel in Madrid (Spain) on 13 May. While there, he chaired a joint meeting of the two Olympic Channel Boards of Directors. During the meeting, the participants received an update on the great progress being made since the creation of the Olympic Channel, one of the key recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020. Also attending the meeting were IOC Executive Board Members, Juan Antonio Samaranch and Willi Kaltschmitt Luján as well as IOC Members Alex Gilady, Philip Craven, Angela Ruggiero, José Perurena, Gerardo Werthein and Lawrence F. Probst.

The Olympic Channel Services team now consists of over 50 full-time employees of 20 different nationalities, and is composed of experienced broadcast professionals and innovative content producers working out of two main bases of operation. The OCS production team in Madrid has begun working with leading production companies from around the world and the launch date is set to be announced in the coming weeks.


While in Madrid, the IOC President met Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at the Palace of Moncloa, the official residence of the Prime Minister. The two leaders discussed the preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games Rio 2016 and the necessary changes of the anti-doping legislation in Spain as well as the role of sport in society. The President was joined by Spanish IOC Executive Board Member Juan Antonio Samaranch and IOC Members Marisol Casado and José Perurena, as well as the NOC President, Alejandro Blanco.

Also in Madrid, the IOC President attended the launch of a biography on Juan Antonio Samaranch. The ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Spanish NOC.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

President Thomas Bach met the President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), Brian Cookson, to talk about the progress of preparations for the cycling events of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The issue of good governance in sport and the protection of clean athletes in particular with regard to ‘mechanical doping’ was also discussed.

© IOC / P. Woods

The IOC President met Czech Olympian Věra Čáslavská, 11-time Olympic medallist in gymnastics, and a former IOC Member and NOC President. She was accompanied by the President of the Czech Olympic Committee, Jiri Kejval.

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

The President’s meeting with Chris Thomas, President of the World Transplant Games Federation (WTFG) and Liz Schick, a member of its executive board, focused mainly on cooperation between the IOC and the WTGF with a view to implementing the recommendations of Agenda 2020 in terms of how the Olympic Movement can help to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

The President visited a fencing club in Prilly, on the outskirts of Lausanne. He was able to give a group of school children some tips in a fencing initiation class. The class was a reward for children from a local school who had taken part in the ‘first stone’ ceremony last year at the IOC headquarters in Vidy when an 'Olympic time capsule' was buried in the grounds to mark the symbolic beginning of work on the new building.


The IOC presented its initiatives in the fight against corruption at the International Anti-Corruption Summit organised by British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday 12 May in London (Great Britain). IOC Member and President of the International Paralympic Committee Sir Philip Craven chaired a panel on sport and was joined by the IOC’s Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, at the conference. The summit adopted a “Global Declaration Against Corruption.” Read the full declaration here. The conference issued a communiqué that said: “We welcome the work of the international sports organisations to strengthen openness and improve governance so that they meet global best practice. We urge them to achieve the highest global standards and regain public trust through a culture of good governance. We recognise the autonomy of international sports organisations conferred under national laws. We believe this must be exercised responsibly and be earned by continually demonstrating good governance in a spirit of openness.” The conference specifically welcomed the initiative of the IOC to launch “an International Sport Integrity Partnership in the margins of a meeting of the International Forum for Sport Integrity in Lausanne in early 2017.” Complete press release here on

The IOC has appointed Getty Images as Official Photographic Agency and Official Imagery Supplier to the IOC up to 2020. The extension of this longstanding relationship underlines Getty Images’ commitment to the IOC and the Olympic Movement, including the TOP Partners, the NOCs and the athletes. The agreement includes rights to use Getty Images’ images and services on the Olympic Channel. Complete press release here.



The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has announced the entries for the last chance to qualify in rowing for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The FISA European Continental and Final Olympic Qualification Regatta will be held in Lucerne (Switzerland) from 22 to 24 May 2016. The regatta has attracted nearly 400 athletes from 47 countries. Olympic qualification spots will be contested in the 14 Olympic boat classes with the qualification spots divided between the European Continental Qualification Regatta and the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. More info on

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has opened a new Twitter account, @FIBA_media, specifically for exchanging information with the media. More info on

The referees’ committee of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) has confirmed the appointment of 88 match officials from over 40 countries to officiate at the Olympic football tournament in Rio 2016. The men’s competition will see 18 referees and 32 assistant referees officiate, with 14 referees and 24 assistants at the women’s tournament. All of FIFA’s six confederations will be represented at the competitions, which will take place from 3 to 21 August 2016. Meanwhile, ahead of the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City, Mexico, the FIFA Council held its inaugural meeting on 9 and 10 May, during which a four-phase bidding process for the 2026 FIFA World Cup was approved. More info on

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has informed us that, six years after the terrible earthquake that hit Haiti, and three years after the creation of the Haitian Hockey Federation, more than 4,500 players regularly compete, which is a huge achievement given that the island has no official hockey pitch. The IOC’s Sport for Hope Centre played a vital role in getting the HFF up and running. Its help and support were crucial to the initial development of the sport. While hockey is mostly played in the 12 clubs that have been set up over the past two years, it is also spreading into schools. So far, the HFF has been able to help five schools implement a hockey programme. For the future, the HFF vision is for hockey to continue to expand and grow across the entire island, which is fully in line with the aims of the FIH Hockey Revolution project. More info on

The International Judo Federation’s (IJF) development programme in the Kilis refugee camps on the Syrian/Turkish border is the subject of the latest IJF Judo for the World video feature. The programme was reinforced in April 2016 as the IJF and the Turkish Judo Federation returned to study development possibilities. On that special occasion, a new episode of the Judo for the World series was produced. The new IJF video series (which has featured Japan, Cuba and Brazil so far) visits communities around the world to show how sport is being used as a social tool to develop and revitalise societies. Today more than 130,000 refugees have been rescued in the Kilis region, which represents more than the local population. More info on


The President of United World Wrestling (UWW), Nenad Lalovic, accepted an invitation from the Chinese Wrestling Federation to witness the progress it has made in recent years. As well as visiting the research and development facilities of a mat manufacturer, the UWW President attended a national course in Xian which featured a combination of theory and practical exercises to reinforce the participants’ knowledge of wrestling rules. The UWW President and the President of the Chinese Association, Mr Zhou, addressed more than 60 referees from 31 provinces of China. The course was led by two of UWW’s referee instructors, Ibrahim Cicioglu and Mikhalov Konstantin. More info on


Alongside the South American championships hosted by the South American Swimming Confederation (CONSANAT), the International Swimming Federation (FINA) organised a series of courses for coaches and judges in Paraguay (see photo above). In March the city of Lambaré was the venue for two courses for advanced coaches and open water swimming referees, while two synchronised swimming courses, two courses for water polo referees and two courses for swimming officials took place in Asunción from 15 to 30 March. More info on

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) held a training camp in Kenya for 200 future athletes, using its team of instructors who have now conducted 20 training camps in 20 countries over the last two years. Financed by the UIPM and organised at the Hillcrest International School, the ten-day camp featured coaching in all five disciplines of modern pentathlon. The young athletes came from several local schools and a pony club. Laser shooting was also part of the programme, while coaches from the Kenyan modern pentathlon federation were instructed in coaching athletes for the combined event. The Kenyan federation hopes for the first time to have athletes competing in the modern pentathlon event of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More info on

World Rugby tells us that Mongolia Rugby and the Mongolian NOC organised a Get Into Rugby festival in Ulan Bator to mark 100 days to the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and highlight rugby’s return to the Olympic programme with rugby sevens. Children from a local orphanage who had previously been supported by the rugby federation were invited to have a go at rugby and learn more about the sport. The event was covered by a number of television networks. More info on

On 14 May, triathlon's two-year Olympic qualification process came to a close at the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Yokohama. Taking on the two-lap swim, nine-lap bike ride and four-lap run Japanese course, the fourth stop of the World Triathlon Series calendar saw the triathletes giving everything for the last Olympic push. For exactly two years, elites have been battling it out at World Cups, the World Triathlon Series and continental competitions in the hopes of earning enough Olympic points to make their national federation’s team for this summer. More info on

© World Sailing

While in Lausanne for its mid-year meetings, World Sailing held a ceremony at the Olympic Museum to commend the success of all sailors over the last 12 months. Young Hungarian sailor Maria Erdi (see photo above) was honoured at the ceremony as a perfect example of progression within the federation. In her home town of Balatonfured she received expert coaching as part of the Youth Worlds Emerging Nations Programme (ENP). She won a gold medal at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi (Malaysia) in the Laser Radial class, and qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The ENP programme was launched in 2015 to help sailors and coaches to improve their knowledge and develop training programmes in their own countries to help future generations. The Paralympic development programme was also presented at the ceremony. During its Lausanne meetings World Sailing laid out a draft two-year roadmap for continued good governance based upon a consultation with member national associations and stakeholders. A number of changes to its constitution and regulations were also approved. Finally, Auckland in New Zealand was confirmed as the host city of the 2016 World Youth Championships, which will take place from 14 to 20 December. More info on


(left to right) Gerhard Rumetshofer, Javid Sedighi, Mohammad Mehdi Rezai, Mirna Jukic‐Berger and Karl Stoss. © OOC/GEPA

The Austrian NOC recently held a press conference to introduce a sports programme for refugees set up following the IOC’s decision in October 2015 to release an emergency fund for the use of NOCs. In response to a lack of resources from governments and aid organisations to enable refugees to practice regular sport, the NOC and the five Olympic centres have been supporting efforts in this direction since the beginning of the year. The first concrete projects were launched in April at centres in Dornbirn, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg-Rif. All the various regions’ existing sports programmes were taken into consideration, sports clubs were contacted and pilot projects were set up. Most of the people currently benefiting from the Austrian NOC’s initiative are asylum seekers, with a small number of refugees. The range of activities on offer includes both leisure sport and competition. The press conference was led by Austrian NOC President Karl Stoss, who was accompanied by the Austrian federal government’s commissioner for refugees, Christian Konrad, regional director of sports Gerhard Rumetshofer, Olympic bronze medallist (100m breaststroke, Beijing 2008) Mirna Jukic-Berger, who is a former refugee, and two Afghan refugees, Javid Sedighi and Mohammad Mehdi Rezai. Javid took part in the Linz marathon as part of a relay team made up of refugees, while Mohammad has signed up for swimming lessons in Saltzburg-Rif. More info on

© Bahrain Olympic Committee

A sports management course organised by the Bahrain Olympic Committee’s sports training and development centre concluded recently in Juffair. Twenty-five officials representing national sports clubs and associations attended (see photo above). The course focused on a number of subjects, including the Olympic principles and values and sports leadership. Participants were presented with certificates by NOC Secretary General Abdulrahman Askar. The NOC also announced that a new national day of sport will be celebrated from 2017, in the second week of February. Through this initiative the NOC hopes to promote a healthy lifestyle among the general public. More info on

© Colombian NOC

The second module of MEMOS (Executive Masters in Sports Organisation Management) in Spanish took place recently at the Colombian NOC headquarters in Bogota. A total of 26 delegates chosen by their NOCs, from 16 countries (Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Spain, Mexico, Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Portugal, Paraguay and Puerto Rico) took part. The main themes were sports marketing, sports event organisation and human resources. The participants were also given tutoring for their final dissertations. More info on

© Dominican Republic NOC

During a ceremony recently held at the headquarters of the Dominican Republic NOC in Santo Domingo, a replica of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 torch was handed over to the chef de mission of the Dominican delegation, Junior Arias Noboa (photo above). Also present at this ceremony were the NOC President, Luis Mejía Oviedo, members of the NOC Executive Committee, presidents of national sports federations, Vice-Minister of Sports Aníbal Portorreal, the Executive Director of the Create Olympic Dreams Programme, Armando Soldevila, and the President of the Sports Journalists Association, Ramón Cuello. As of 11 May, 17 athletes from the Dominican Republic had qualified to compete in 11 sports at the Rio Games. More info on

© Spanish NOC/span>

Nearly 200 people attended the 8th Todos Olímpicos (All Olympic) session, a project organised by the Spanish NOC and the Madrid city council. The event brought together sports leaders and officials, media representatives and students from Madrid’s Colegio Logos (photo above) at the NOC headquarters in Madrid. Olympians Carolina Pascual (gymnastics) and Javier Illana (swimming) gave a presentation, coordinated by boxer Jennifer Miranda. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the Olympic values of respect, equality and excellence, and their relevance to society as a whole. NOC President Alejandro Blanco signed a cooperation agreement with the city of Madrid’s secretary for education, youth and sports, Rafael van Grieken, to ensure that Olympians would continue to have opportunities to share their experiences with schoolchildren. More info on

The annual report of the Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China for 2014-2015 is now available to download from the NOC’s website at

© Lithuanian NOC

Young athletes and coaches who took part in the Youth Olympic Winter Games Lillehammer 2016 were invited to the headquarters of the Lithuanian NOC. NOC President Daina Gudzineviciute thanked them for their performance at the YOG and presented them with participation certificates and a souvenir. Ten Lithuanian athletes competed in Lillehammer: three biathletes, one cross-country skier, two Alpine skiers, one ice-hockey player, one snowboarder and a figure skating couple. More info on

© Portuguese NOC

As part of the Living Sport – Embrace the Future project supported by the IOC, the Portuguese NOC hosted an international conference on the theme “Sport: Integration, Development and Peace”. The conference focused on examples of good practice in integrating refugees through sport. Among the participants were representatives of national and international organisations involved in refugee issues, who talked about optimising resources, sustainability and social integration. Also present were Alessandro Pinto, global head of the Save the Dream organisation and former UNICEF director; Honey Thaljieh, FIFA’s head of business communication; and three refugees. More info on

© NOC Slovakia

NOC Slovakia celebrated 100 days to the opening of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with the start of the NOC’s torch relay and the unveiling of the official delegation uniforms. The flame was lit at the National Olympians’ Memorial in Martin by double Olympic champion and five-time Olympic medallist in canoeing Michal Martikan and swimmer Martina Moravcova, double Olympic silver medallist (see photo above). The torch relay will travel around the country, visiting regional activities organised by Olympic clubs, before ending on 23 June, Olympic Day, in the capital Bratislava. The activity is under the auspices of Slovakian President Andrej Kiska. The official uniforms of the Slovak Olympic team were presented during a samba-style Olympic fashion show in Bratislava. More info on

The Swedish Olympic Committee has informed the IOC that on 4 May the municipal government decided to invest SEK 10 million in an in-depth study of the conditions for Stockholm to host the Olympic Games. “Even if we do not get the Games, an application can still have positive effects for Stockholm,” said finance commissioner Karin Wanngård to the Swedish Daily News. A pilot study that began six months ago has been completed, paving the way for the in-depth study to provide a more detailed plan on how the Games could be implemented in Stockholm. The team responsible for formulating the study is made up of representatives from commerce and industry, the Swedish Olympic Committee, the Swedish Paralympic Committee, NGOs, co-municipalities and the IOC. More info on

© Tunisian NOC

With the aim of promoting Olympic education in schools, a meeting took place between the President of the Tunisian NOC, Mehrez Boussayene (left) and education minister Neji Jalloul (right). They discussed the role of sport and Olympism in the ministry’s plans to reform Tunisia’s education system. The project is a follow-up to the IOC President’s visit to Tunisia in early March. The NOC is hoping, with the IOC’s support, to launch Olympic clubs in schools with the aim of reinforcing the importance of sport and the Olympic values in young people’s education. Meetings have been scheduled between the ministries for education and sport and the NOC with a view to implementing the project immediately. During the meeting, the NOC President presented the education minister with an Olympic pin. More info on

© Uruguay NOC

Under the auspices of Olympic Solidarity, the Uruguay NOC and the Uruguayan wrestling federation organised a level 1 course for wrestling instructors from 26 April to 3 May. David López (Mexico), regional development director for United World Wrestling (UWW) and Yuri Maier (Argentina), UWW representative of traditional wrestling for the American continent, were the experts in charge of the courses, which were attended by some thirty national coaches. NOC President and IOC Honorary Member Julio C. Maglione met course leaders and national federation officials to discuss a number of issues affecting wrestling in Uruguay, and potential future projects to promote the sport’s development. More info on

© Venezuelan NOC

The headquarters of the Venezuelan NOC hosted a technical course for badminton coaches from 4 to 6 May. The aim of the training course, which is under the auspices of Olympic Solidarity, was to give each participant the technical tools they need to coach in the best conditions. Leonardo Ruíz and Edgar Hernández were the course’s main instructors (see photo above).



During its 18th General Assembly in Seoul on 12 May, the PyeongChang Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) approved the appointment of former minister Lee Hee-beom (photo) as President. Mr Lee’s appointment is set to be finalised after approval by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism within the week. More info on



On 6 May the Organising Committee of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 (BAYOGOC) held a ceremony to celebrate the laying of the first stone of the Youth Olympic Village. The event marked the start of construction on the village, which in October 2018 will welcome more than 3,800 athletes to the 3rd Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. As a symbol of the efforts being made by BAYOGOC to hold sustainable Games, the first symbolic stone was 3D printed from recycled plastic bottles. The initiative is part of an environmental campaign launched by Buenos Aires 2018, which aims to encourage citizens of the capital to dispose of their plastic bottles in recycling points around the city. More than 700 people were present for the event, including the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, the President of the Argentinean NOC and IOC member Gerardo Werthein, as well as representatives of national and municipal authorities, the NOC, Organising Committee, Olympic athletes, children, workers and other guests. Complete press release here.


On 3 May the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspended the accreditation of the South African Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein until 30 September 2016. Pursuant to Article 13.7 of the World Anti-Doping Code, the laboratory may appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days of receipt of notice. Complete press release here on


The 13th Joint International Session for Presidents and Directors of National Olympic Academies and NOC Officials was held at the premises of the International Olympic Academy (IOA) in Ancient Olympia (Greece) (photo above) from 7 to 14 May. The IOA President, Isidoros Kouvelos, opened the session in the presence of the Mayor of Ancient Olympia, Efthimis Kotzas. The main topic of the session was “Olympism as an effective tool for development and sustainability” with an additional topic “Olympic education as a tool for development and sustainability”. The Session brought together a total of 109 people from 80 countries. More info on


Please note that in the previous Olympic Highlights, in the article on the Olympic flame’s visit to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, we omitted to mention the presence of Mario Pescante, IOC Member and Permanent Observer of the IOC to the United Nations.

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